The Great White Hope


Weird and Wonderful

The great white hope
4th August 2017

By Lloyd Lugsden

Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps has attempted to swim faster than a great white shark.

The most decorated Olympian of all time, with 28 medals, set the challenge as part of Discovery channel’s shark week. The race was dubbed Phelps v Shark: Great Gold v Great White.

Michael, 32, nicknamed ‘the Baltimore Bullet’, retired after winning five gold medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The athlete has a top speed of six mph, while the great white reaches 25mph.

Michael wore a special wetsuit to reduce drag and a monofin, which replicated a shark’s powerful tail.

The swimmer was not allowed in the sea at the same time as the shark for safety reasons, so instead he was actually racing a computer-generated shark simulating a shark’s speed – to the disappointment of some viewers.

Phelps told USA Today that he estimated with the fin that he’d get up to ‘eight to 10, maybe 12mph’.

Alas, Michael didn’t beat the shark in the 100-metre race, coming in at 38.1 seconds with the shark coming in two seconds faster.